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Amazon deals with racial divide by promising to expand delivery zones

Amazon deals with racial divide by promising to expand delivery zones

Recently, a report surfaced that highlighted gaps in Amazon's same-day delivery regions, with predominantly-black neighborhoods, in some cases, being left out of the delivery zone while nearby and surrounding neighborhoods were supported. Speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus, Amazon has vowed to change this, saying it will expand its free same-day-delivery to all zip codes in the cities where it offers Prime Same Day.

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U of Michigan robot learns to walk on rugged, uneven terrains

U of Michigan robot learns to walk on rugged, uneven terrains

The University of Michigan has a bipedal robot, and it is able to walk without support. The researchers working with the robot recently showcased their creation walking on unstable and uneven ground, marking an update in its movement capabilities. The types of difficult terrain include ones covered with a “thin layer” of snow and steep slopes. The algorithms powering the robot’s walking abilities could one day aid other bipedal robots in tough environments.

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Ancient ‘hammerhead’ reptile found in southern China

Ancient ‘hammerhead’ reptile found in southern China

In Southern China, researchers discovered fossils of a reptile that features a ‘hammerhead’ snout — a very wide, somewhat comical jaw that extends beyond the diameter of its own head. The fossils are 242 million years old, and they belong to a creature dubbed Atopodentatus unicus, a reptile that would feed on algae and lived in the sea. The fossils were first discovered in 2014, but the discovery was only made public today.

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Australia will use herpes to destroy pesky carp fish

Australia will use herpes to destroy pesky carp fish

Carp, a pest fish in Australia, will be facing an epidemic sometime around 2018, at least if the Australian government follows through with a newly announced plan. The nation’s deputy prime minister has announced “carpageddon,” a program that will use a herpes virus to eradicate the European carp and, hopefully, make it possible for native species to better thrive in local waterways.

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Netflix has thumbnail selection down to a science

Netflix has thumbnail selection down to a science

Netflix has the art of choosing thumbnails down to a science, and it detailed that skill for the public today. It rightly points toward the difficulty thumbnails can present — you have a long movie or an even longer television show, and you have to figure out how to best represent that show using a single static image. The company says it has up to 90 seconds to catch someone’s attention, but that it takes a mere 13 milliseconds for someone to process a picture, with such artwork being the biggest influencer.

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Teen develops low-cost bioreactor for growing mini-brains

Teen develops low-cost bioreactor for growing mini-brains

A teenager has developed a new type of miniature bioreactor called SpinΩ that can be used to grow miniature brains -- the bioreactor costs about $400 to make, which is substantially cheaper than the $2,000 or so conventional systems cost. The teenager is Christopher Hadiono, and he was 16-years-old when he first approached Hongjun Song about spending the summer of 2013 in Song’s John Hopkins University lab. By the end of that summer, Hadiono had created his machine.

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Mars slope lineae landscapes may be etched by boiling water

Mars slope lineae landscapes may be etched by boiling water

A simulation of a Martian day has revealed the possible cause of Mars’ extensive seasonal gullies: boiling water. The conclusion was made after researchers used Open University’s Large Mars Chamber, a steel decompression chamber equipped with simulated hills, to test the effects of water running down the surface. The gullies were first discovered in 2011, and how they formed had largely remained a mystery.

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Robot monk Xian’er teaches temple visitors, chants mantras

Robot monk Xian’er teaches temple visitors, chants mantras

Longquan Temple, a Buddhist temple not too far from Beijing, is home to Xian’er, a 2ft. tall robot monk donned in a yellow robe and seeming holding a tablet in his hands. The robot is an unexpected blend of modern with the ancient, and is designed to, among other things, teach visitors some basic things about Buddhism. When not teaching, the robo-monk can chant mantras. The robot’s purpose is fairly simple — it is designed to attract visitor attention that may otherwise be dedicated to a smartphone.

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Sanitizing cow farts before they happen could slow climate change

Sanitizing cow farts before they happen could slow climate change

Steaks are good, yes. So are burgers on the grill and a roast in the oven. Cows, though, aren’t so great for the environment, an issue that must be addressed as the world becomes hotter and climate change becomes more rapid. It takes a lot of water to raise a cow, but that's arguably not humanity's biggest concern at the moment. It is farts...cow farts, to be specific. A cow's fart has a lot of methane, and methane is a big contributor toward a warmer planet.

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Science says dogs hate being hugged

Science says dogs hate being hugged

Sorry dog owners, your favorite furry companion probably doesn't like your hugs. Sure, humans enjoy hugs — more than a few studies have found them to be a developmental necessity — but dogs aren’t humans, and, frankly, hugs freak them out. Why? When a dog doesn't like something, it runs away; it can't run away when you're hugging it, though, so your affection is perceived as something akin to shackles around the paws.

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Large Hadron Collider’s shutdown caused by sneaky weasel

Large Hadron Collider’s shutdown caused by sneaky weasel

The Large Hadron Collider recently went offline, prompting engineers to start poking around for an explanation. The machine is 17-miles long, and hunting down a cause can be time consuming; it wasn’t long before the problem was found, though, and it was pretty unexpected. As it turns out, a weasel (or possibly a marten) made its way into the region and chewed through a power cable.

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Cracker Jack prizes are going digital

Cracker Jack prizes are going digital

The prize inside Cracker Jack boxes will soon be digital codes, and those digital codes will take consumers to a “one-of-a-kind mobile experience,” Frito-Lay has announced. This is perhaps the biggest shift to the Cracker Jack brand over its nearly 125 years, and fully underscores the mobile-centric nature of modern life. Joining the new digital prizes will be a redesign logo and new product packaging.

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